The Chart:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

AirBridgeCargo news

Line 1471 (RC581) N854GT for Atlas went on a first flight today. It didn't show up on flight aware but it was caught on camera.

There's an article here that goes over everything, but I'll sum it up.

Volga Dnepr, parent company to AirBridgeCargo, who currently operates three 747-8Fs and has two more on order (one of which is ready for delivery), is not doing well. They've lost a lot of money, and are trying to stop the bleeding.

They're not entirely happy with the three 747-8Fs they have, saying they have range issues with the polar routes they want to fly them on. They're currently negotiating with Boeing for compensation and to delay the delivery of the final two frames until they can return some older 747s they have on lease, which should be towards the end of the year. This means line 1463 will probably be parked in the desert for a spell.

I don't really understand their range issue complaints. The 747-8F has a much longer range than most other freighters, definitely much longer than the Antonov AN-124 that Volga Dnepr is so enamored with (so much so that they're planning on restarting the AN-124 production line themselves by 2017). The AN-124 is a cool plane, and it can lift a lot of cargo, but it can't fly nearly the distance of a 747-8F without refueling. Of course, I'm stating all of this with the information I have access to, which might not be entirely accurate in the real world. I imagine Volga Dnepr wouldn't be making these claims if there wasn't some truth to them.

There's talk on of line 1469 for NCA also being parked in the desert for a while. How sad; two brand new 747-8Fs languishing alongside another unused airframe, 747-400 line 1416, which is still waiting for a first operator.

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